Clinical Instruction: An Intrinsic Motivational Factor in the Professional Development of Physical Therapists.


Clinical instruction is an integral part of Physical Therapy education and clinical instructors (CIs) play a crucial role in enhancing the educational experiences for their students. A gap remains in understanding the contribution of clinical instruction in the intrinsic motivation of physical therapists (PTs). Establishing the role of clinical instruction as a contributing factor for intrinsic motivation in PTs will be beneficial for leaders in physical therapy, as a tool to enhance the professional development and job satisfaction of their staff. The purpose of this study was to examine whether PTs would achieve higher job satisfaction through intrinsic motivation as a result of being clinical instructors (CIs).


A quantitative study (n=670) with a fixed non-experimental design was conducted using the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire Short Form (MSQ) via a self-administered electronic survey. The population included actively practicing male and female PTs in the state of Florida. Additional metadata on demographics and job titles were collected for further granular analysis. The results were analyzed for relationships between clinical instruction and overall and intrinsic job satisfaction of PTs. Statistical methods included descriptive analysis, independent t-test, one-way ANOVA, multifactor ANOVA, two-sample t-tests, CronbachÕs alpha, and PearsonÕs correlation.


Results demonstrated that clinical instruction was associated with increased intrinsic job satisfaction and overall job satisfaction for PTs. In addition, job satisfaction was significantly higher (F=15.372, p = 0.000) for PTs serving as assigned clinical instructors irrespective of job titles. Descriptive analysis of data demonstrated that the intrinsic factors defined in the MSQ were significantly more important than extrinsic factors for PTs. The overall job satisfaction for staff PTs was significantly higher (F= 17.847, p = 0.000) for those assigned a clinical instruction role. Finally, multifactor ANOVA testing revealed significantly higher intrinsic job satisfaction for staff PTs who were assigned the role of clinical instruction.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme:

Clinical instruction may contribute to the intrinsic motivation of PTs through job variety, meaningfulness at work, competence, and autonomy. The in-depth knowledge that is necessary to mentor students requires self-improvement and self-reflection in CIs and enhances their skills and knowledge resulting in their professional development. In addition, CIs are also exposed to supervisory tasks related to students and this may help them to develop leadership skills within their organizations. From the leadership perspective, serving as a CI may act as a motivational tool to improve employee engagement. It can also serve as a professional development tool for competence through autonomy, task significance, and responsibility for outcomes. Based on the relationships between intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction among CIs in this research, leaders in physical therapy may consider assigning clinical instruction as a valuable organizational tool to improve job satisfaction of their employees.

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  • Control #: 26829
  • Type: Poster Presentation - Research Type
  • Event/Year: ELC2020
  • Authors: Bini Thomas
  • Keywords:

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